Teaching Kids About GERMS! Posted on 24 Feb 06:42 , 0 comments

Teaching kids about germsTeaching kids about germs

Teaching Kids About GERMS
 

Last month in January, I felt like a bit like a “sitting duck” in my classroom, just waiting to get sick!  There were so many children coughing and sneezing, and there were so many runny noses that I was certain that it was only going to be a matter of time before I would certainly fall ill with the very same thing.  It is so very difficult to get children into the habit of covering their coughs and sneezes, and it is so frustrating to tell them to do so, over and over and over again- only to have your instructions repeatedly ignored.
So, I decided to try to develop some lessons on germs, with the goal of communicating the importance of NOT SPREADING THEM clearly to the children, in a way that they could really understand.

But before I get into that, I would like to share a few more of our video contest entries with you!  Time is running out, so get them in by Feb. 29th! Competition is really good this year, and you can see even more videos at our YouTube channel here.  Remember, it can simply be a still picture of children using our products.  You can send your videos to [email protected] or upload them via MailBigFile (http://free.mailbigfile.com/) to easily send larger files up to 200mb.  For the complete rules, click here.

 

No one enjoys a good cheer more than I do, so seeing this video of the Four Leaf Clovers Soccer Team just makes my day! From the green hair and ribbons to the overwhelming energy and enthusiasm, I think this team is a winner! Thanks so much for sharing your team spirit with us!

 

The “out” song is a fun example of mixing music and movement, and Mrs. Ward’s class from LISA Academy in North Little Rock, AR have the motions down perfect. The swami dance is a good fit for this group and I really appreciate them sharing it with us!

 

Holidays are a good opportunity to have a little fun while learning, and Halloween is a great time of year to be working with numbers, as demonstrated by Mrs. Langham’s Hill Elementary Kindergarten class. I love how much energy her students have while counting and singing about the bats and cats of Halloween! Thanks so much for sharing your holiday fun with us!

 

Ms. Cullen’s Primary class from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia has done a wonderful job of making sight words out of the printable Alphabet Pattern Blocks! I think their good work and great smiles are worthy of a special category award all their own! Thanks so much for sharing your work!

As for me, I am in Atlantic City, NJ this week for SDE’s Kindergarten Conference for New Jersey Teachers.   I am super excited to be there, since I have never presented in New Jersey before, and have never been to Atlantic City before at all!  So it’s all a big adventure!  And next week on March 2nd, I will be giving a half day session for the Pre-Conference Institute at the Southern California Kindergarten Conference, and then presenting again on March 3rd for their regular conference.  Oh, and by the way, my report cards are due on March 2nd!!  (Thankfully, I’ve been preparing for THAT and I am ready for it!  I am going to do the comments for my report cards on the plane.)  The following week on March 8th and 9th, I will be presenting at the Illinois ASCD Pre-Kindergarten & Kindergarten Annual Conference.  And that should be the last one for this school year, I believe!  I am very blessed that my principal and administration are so very supportive of my speaking engagements and professional life outside of the classroom!

Hand sanitizer and a bottle of cosmetic glitter to mix in.
 

Glitter Germs
One wonderful lesson that I stumbled upon was “Glitter Germs,” which I found posted on the blog titled, “Little Miss Kindergarten.”  I loved her activity so much that I had to try it out myself!  So I emailed the author of the blog, Mrs. Coe, to find out a few more details of how to mix up her “Glitter Germs,” because these details were not included in her post.  She told me that she took some regular hand sanitizer and then purchased some make-up glitter at a beauty supply store.  (I found mine at Sally’s Beauty Supply for just one dollar!)  Mrs. Coe told me that it is important to use the very fine make-up glitter because that way, if it gets into anyone’s eyes, it shouldn’t hurt.  She simply mixed them together ahead of time.  I only mixed a little bit in my hand at a time, though, adding a little bit of sanitizer and then dumping a little bit of glitter into the palm of my hand afterwards.  I encourage you to also read Mrs. Coe’s post to see how she did it, as I know that it was done in a slightly different way.  In any case, here’s the activity, the way I did it:

1.  I  told the children that germs were very small bits of bacteria, or “bad little dirty things that can make you sick.” I told them that they are so small that we cannot even see them- but they are there!
2.  I asked them if my hands looked clean or not, and they agreed that they did look clean.  BUT, I told them that there were still surely germs on my hands anyway, even though they couldn’t see them.
3.  Then I put the hand sanitizer and glitter mixture on my hands and rubbed them together.  I asked them to take a look at my hands and see if they could spot the glitter, and they all said that they could.
4.  Then I invited my helper of the day to come up and “high five” me.  After we slapped our hands together, we checked to see if some of the glitter transferred from my hands to hers.  We saw that they did.  I told them to think of the glitter as germs, and to realize that any germs on their hands was going to be left behind on anything that they touch.
5.  Then I put more glitter germs on my hands, and put on my “Friend” spelling song from Sing and Spell Vol. 4.  We all walked around “high fiving” each other, during the song.  When it was done, we checked to see if the “glitter germs” had spread from person to person, and indeed they had!
6.  After that, the children watched as I proceeded to touch as many different things in the classroom as I could think of, leaving my “germs” behind on every single thing!  I left my glitter germs on pencils, markers, scissors, glue, papers, erasers, chairs, etc.  The children then helped me think of other things that the germs would be left on.  We also saw that the glitter would transfer from the pencils to other children’s hands, even if only just a little bit.

So our grand conclusion of all of this was that it is VERY important to wash your hands and do a good job of it!  AND, it is very important to remember NOT to stick your germy fingers in your nose, mouth, or eyes, because that will make you sick quicker than anything!

Cornstarch based baby powder, with some glitter stuck to the bottle!
 

Cover Your Cough!
Getting kids to cover their mouths is certainly not easy.  One thing that I have always done is have children show me how they will cover their mouths next time, and I think that helps a little bit.  But this little lesson that I found online at this website helped a LOT!  I modified it a little bit, but I got the basic gist of it there.
The idea is that if children can see and/or feel the germs as they move about the room as a result of a person’s cough or sneeze, and understand what germs do, then they would realize the importance of keeping them covered.

Here is how I made the “cough” something the children could see and feel:
1.  Purchase a small bottle of cornstarch based baby powder, and hide it in your hand, making sure the bottle is opened.  (It is important to use cornstarch based powder because this type of powder will not hurt the children if they inhale it.)
2.  Pretend to cough, and as you do, squeeze the powder out quickly as if it were coming right out of your mouth!
3.  The children could all see the powder “coming out of my mouth” as if were the cough, and they all started yelling, “Ewwwww!”  The powder was also getting on many of the children, and this intensified the effects of the experience, because they could also feel these “germs.”
4.  We talked about the fact that there were germs in my mouth, and if I were sick and coughed on everyone without covering my mouth, then all of those germs were going to get on everyone else and make them sick, too!

**Post update:**
We now have a fun song to sing to help the children remember to cover their mouths , and another to help them remember to blow their noses on our new Classroom Management CD/DVD!  The songs are called, “Cover Your Mouth” and “Blow Your Nose.”  You can check them out right here, and even hear some snippets of them on iTunes if you like.  

Classroom Management DVD
A spray bottle with a little bit of red water color paint in it.
 

Stifle Your Sneeze!
Here is how I did the same type of thing to teach about covering up sneezes:
1.  Get a spray bottle that will spray in a direct spray and a fine mist.
2.  Put some colored water in it.
3.  Pretend to sneeze and when you do, just spray the class with the “germs.”
4.  Watch them freak out!

This lesson was quickly taught and quite easily grasped!  The children all know how gross nose mucus is, and that this is not something that they want sprayed on them.  Even if they do not understand about germs and the significance of spreading them, they definitely know that they do NOT want those goobers sprayed on them!  In fact, as soon as I started spraying, the whole class got up and RAN for the back of the classroom, LOL!
Once I got them back under control, (ha ha) the first thing that they wanted to know was WHAT WAS IN THAT BOTTLE?????  I assured them that is was only water with a little bit of paint in it, but at that point, it had become a big game, and every time I picked up the bottle, some of them wanted to begin screaming and running away.  So, I decided that that would be a good time to end the lesson!  I put the coughing powder, the sneezing spray, and the glitter germs away, and we just talked about it for awhile.
Later on in February, I was having trouble getting one of my little boys to cover his mouth when he coughed.  After I reminded him unsuccessfully a few times to cover it, I reminded him of the coughing powder and the sneezing spray, and asked if he would like for me to spray him again to help him remember?  His eyes lit up with the memory, and he said that he did not need that.  And after that, he remembered to cover his cough!  Hooray!  Lesson learned. 

Here is a YouTube video of the lesson that I gave.  It was so much fun!

 

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